recommended reading

Accepting Credit Card Payments Involves Risk -- Even If You're the Government


Too many organizations are failing to protect customer data, as evidenced by the recent Target breach, and government offices aren't immune to the problem, according to a new report. 

Verizon, whose services include assessing payment card system security, found that 88.9 percent of its clients failed their baseline assessment. 

Although the sample size was too small to draw conclusions about public sector security, Verizon researchers said the findings speak to cardholder data protection across all organizations, not just retailers.

By doing business with cards bearing Visa or MasterCard logos and other financial brands, entities including “Army and Navy commissaries for purchasing foods” and offices handling “copay at VA hospitals” for the Veterans Affairs Department take on a risk, said Aaron Reynolds, managing principal for payment card industry consulting at Verizon.

Between 2011 and 2013, organizations that endured a cardholder data hack were typically neglecting a crucial step for spotting red flags: looking at the access logs. 

Entities suffering a breach were much less likely to monitor payment device logs, according to a comparison of Verizon’s annual data breach investigation report and the new report.

"This requirement came last in our index, suggesting that failing to manage logs effectively is a key contributor to your chances of suffering a loss of cardholder data," wrote the authors of Verizon’s 2014 report on compliance with payment card industry security standards. Security controls measured by Verizon were ranked by extent of compliance. 

"One of the main risks is that debit or credit card data continues to be on the top of the list of what hackers are targeting," Reynolds said.

Get the Nextgov iPhone app to keep up with government technology news.

(Image via Pressmaster/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.